Smart water meters will be on trial in the Byron Shire from August 2020 as part of Council’s 12-month pilot project to optimise water management in the region.
Approximately 400 smart water metering devices will be installed on residential and commercial properties in East Mullumbimby and selected bulk recycled water clients in Byron Bay.
Smart water meter devices will provide hourly water consumption data direct to Council so it can better understand how its customers use water, while monitoring the performance of the water network and its supply.
Council’s Manager Utilities, Cameron Clark said the current process of manual water meter reads and quarterly billing mean there is a significant time period between customer use and billing.
“Leaks can be slow and problematic to detect, resulting in bill shock for customers and increased demand on our region’s water sources and Council infrastructure,” Mr Clark said.
“Faster and smarter billing information will help identify leaks earlier, saving water, money and potential property damage.”
“Customers will be able to track their water usage and have greater control over home budgets before the bills even arrive,” he said.
Recent water restrictions in the Byron Shire have heightened the need for a reduction in water consumption. With consistent population growth in the area and finite drinking water sources, Mr Clark said the project is a wise investment in the region’s future water security.
“It’s time to smarten up with water and transition to a more modern way of monitoring water, because at the end of the day, when the tanks are dry and taps are turned off, nobody likes a leak,” he said.
Council is considering the smart water meter technology for a potential Shire-wide rollout in the future and the pilot project will help assess its viability. Council is seeking to better understand current data analysis models, identify potential risks and barriers and gauge community acceptance so that a business case and cost analysis can be prepared.
Although water meters are a Council asset, installation works may require access to private property and water supply may temporarily be disrupted. Council will contact property owners prior to works commencing. Minor plumbing work may be required in some cases, however all work and materials for this pilot project will be at no cost to property owners.
Council is currently in the planning stage and has called for tenders for the supply of the smart water meter devices for the pilot project. It is expected 80% of the installations for the pilot will be completed by December 2020.